Each Saturday I usually have a little time to read a couple of comic books. For the last several weekends I have been working my way through Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates. The title started impressively with Jonathan Hickman crafting an interesting narrative about a vengeful Reed Richards and his sentient City gobbling up Northern Europe. The malignant Mr. Fantastic, responding to an all-out nuclear attack by an Obama-like POTUS, unleashes an anti-matter bomb that destroys Washington D.C. Esad Ribic provided the art, which was great.
Then there was a lull. Hickman handed off to Sam Humphries. Two story arcs commenced and both seemed tired. One had to do with a newly-elected President Captain America leading the Ultimates in mopping up the rebellion which had shattered the United States; the other had Nick Fury -- the Ultimates Samuel L. Jackson version -- going undercover in a Hydra encampment; the hook here is the identity he assumes, Scorpio, is the spitting image of the Nick Fury we know from the regular, primary Marvel world, what's known as Earth-616. Hydra is a stand in for militia/Tea Party types
But with issue #22 the title has once again started to percolate. Humphries remains the writer. The plot is the chief of staff for California's Governor is taking another shot at secession. To help him achieve his nefarious scheme he has gotten hold of a group of meta-humans from a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. lab and he is using them to wipe out the Ultimates
The art is by a new team -- Joe Bennett (penciler), Ruy Jose (inker) and Matt Milla (colors) -- and it is incredible. I was unfamiliar with Bennett's work. It has that liquid, Will Eisner, early Bernie Wrightson quality. Check out the six pages from Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates #22. An Ultimates beta version -- Tigra, Wonder Man, Quake, and the Vision -- hunt for Osama bin Laden in Baluchistan in the recent past. Wonder Man "Hulks out" against the Taliban.